Kingswood School provides an extensive range of excellent co-curricular activities. There are over 100 activities each term. The provision for sport, music and drama is outstanding and many pupils participate in The Duke of Edinburgh's Award and outdoor pursuits. The School also hosts the annual Bath Schools Model United Nations conference.
All students are encouraged to participate in a wide a range of co-curricular activities to discover new talents, improve existing skills, work as part of a team and find activities and hobbies that they enjoy which will take them past school and often become lifelong interests. In addition, academic societies, departmental trips and activities that complement the curriculum help students demonstrate a passion for their subjects outside the classroom, which is invaluable for students completing university applications.
In our most recent ISI Inspection, the Kingswood co-curricular programme was rated as "excellent". We are passionate here at Kingswood that educating young people is not just about inspiring pupils academically but also giving them a really broad range of opportunities.
As a part of our super-curricular offering, a range of academic societies enable our students from all years in the school to explore their subjects in all their diversity, often using attending presentations and workshops. For example, recently the school hosted Professor Lewis Dartnell, an astrobiologist researching whether there is life on Mars. He delivered a workshop to A Level Physics students in the afternoon on Exoplanets, and then two evening lectures on his Sunday Times best-sellers, The Knowledge and Origins. Other recent speakers we have hosted include John McCarthy, Richard Dawkins, Justin Webb, and a range of front-line politicians.
Our speaker programme is complemented by student-led society meetings, which include debates and discussions on a range of topics.
Sixth Form students are given access to an extensive super-curricular handbook, which gives them lots of ideas of ways they can enrich themselves beyond the constraints of the curriculum.
All of the teaching staff at the School are involved in running activities and many coach team sports.
Every pupil in Years 7, 8 and 9 takes part in at least three co-curricular activities every week and Year 10 pupils take part in at least two. Pupils in Year 11 and the Sixth Form are also encouraged to participate in a range of activities every week. In practice many pupils do considerably more activities across their week, giving them a varied and enriching school day. Many of the senior pupils are also involved in supervising the activities of younger pupils, developing their leadership skills and sharing their talents and interests with others. Most of the activities for both boarders and day pupils are included within the fees and take place on site.
Here at Kingswood, we offer activities as diverse as jewellery club, orienteering, dance, badminton, climbing, gardening, chess and board games, F1 for schools, backstage club, Kingswood Podcast, sketchbook club, Python programming, mindfulness, football and Aikido.
In addition to the above activities, we also offer a wide range of trips and activities for boarders that are run at weekends. Recently, these have included House music competitions, a trip to the Mendip Activity Centre, hiking in the local area, cinema trips and boarders’ film nights, visiting Thorpe Park Theme Park, shopping trips to Bristol and Street, an Advent service and dinner, going to Bath’s Christmas Market, bubble football and combat archery, a Burns Night celebration, a boarders’ Bake Off weekend, watching Bristol rugby, a beach trip where pupils carried out a beach clean, a variety of sports tournaments, barbeques and bowling.
You can view the Activity Programme for this term below.
Debating and Public Speaking
Kingswood has a thriving debating and public speaking scene. The Debating Society meets weekly and develops core public speaking skills and debating in preparation for the Senior House Debating Competition in the Autumn term and the Westwood House Debating Competition in the summer term.
Kingswood debaters take part in external competitions such as the Churchill Public Speaking Competition as well as the BPW, MACE and Oxford Schools Debating competitions.
Model United Nations (MUN)
Kingswood has hosted an annual Model United Nations (MUN) conference for many years, attracting schools from across the United Kingdom and beyond. This event is one of the largest of its kind in the country, with around 600 pupils gathering at the School in early March for a weekend of debate and discussion on the issues confronting the global community today.
Model United Nations is a role-play exercise. Pupils form delegations to represent the various member states of the UN. They each research their allocated country in advance of the conference so that they are able to accurately convey the views of those countries in debates on a range of contemporary issues.
At our most recent conference, for example, pupils wrestled with the complexities of topics as diverse as antimicrobial resistance, the situation in Syria, climate change and the rights of disabled people. Debates are conducted according to official UN procedures, and during the conference weekend, pupils are also presented with an emergency scenario, and they must respond to an unexpected crisis that demands an international response.
Each year around 100 Kingswood pupils take part in our conference. All year groups are able to get involved, from the Year 7 and 8 pupils who act as runners to the older pupils who participate as delegates. Sixth Formers take a leadership role, serving as chairs of the various specialist committees and helping to organise the entire event.
In addition to holding its own conference, Kingswood also runs a lively MUN training programme, known as K-MUN. By participating in K-MUN, pupils have the opportunity to prepare for and attend conferences around the UK and abroad. Pupils learn about the conference format, participate in mini debates, write resolutions and research a wide range of global issues.
MUN is a unique experience. Pupils who participate not only learn a great deal about the issues confronting the world today but also develop a range of valuable skills, including collaboration, leadership, working towards consensus, advocating and persuasion. The programme broadens horizons through the exchange of ideas it facilitates as well as through the range of pupils it brings together from a wide variety of schools.
Read about MUN at Kingswood in our latest school magazine.
The Drama department runs a large number of co-curricular activities to give pupils of all ages plenty of opportunities to take part in productions, workshops and trips.
You can follow the Drama department on Twitter.
Clubs and Activities
Weekly Drama clubs are on offer for pupils in Years 7-9 and focus on improving core acting skills through a variety of drama activities, both scripted and unscripted. Pupils in Year 9 upwards interested in the technical aspects of theatre (for example sound, lighting and stage management) can attend a weekly Technical Theatre club run by our full-time Theatre Manager in our well-equipped 366-seat theatre. From time to time a spontaneous improvisation comedy club is also run and audition preparation activities are always offered to those who wish to pursue acting further.
The Drama department produces a number of hugely successful performances each year including, typically, a senior production, a Year 10 production, and a junior production. Past productions have included: ‘Antigone’, A Christmas Carol’, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’ , ‘Blood Brothers’, ‘Bugsy Malone’ 'Ernie's Incredible Illucinations', ‘Dust’, 'Kingswood@20’ (an amalgamation of theatrical performances from the past 20 years), ‘Rats Tales’, ‘Jason and the Argonauts’, ‘Our Country’s Good’ ,'A Midsummer Night's Dream', 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', and 'Blind' (a retelling of the 'Oedipus' trilogy). The 2022 summer season comprised of DNA by Dennis Kelly and Grimm Tales, adapted for the stage by Carol Ann Duffy.
Auditions will get underway in September for Little shop of Horrors, that will be performed in February 2023. In addition to this, younger members of the senior school can audition for The Odyssey and Lord of the Flies, that will be performed in the summer term.
Trips and Visits
Trips to local theatres such as Bristol Old Vic, Theatre Royal in Bath, the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham and The Tobacco Factory in Bristol, as well as in-school performances and workshops, are run regularly and Sixth Form pupils enjoy an annual overnight trip to London each September where they visit theatres such as the National Theatre, the Globe and other performance venues in London’s West End. In March 2017, we ran a trip to New York for pupils in Years 11-13. This will continue to run in alternate years during the Easter Holiday.
The Splendid Theatre Company, a theatre and education company, visits annually to take workshops and put on a performance for the pupils, and Kingswood also hosts workshops and performances by practitioners such as Frantic Assembly, Paper Birds and playwright Alecky Blythe. A local group, the Natural Theatre Company, have also run workshops for younger pupils on creating street theatre.
The Drama and Music Awards
Every year Kingswood runs an annual award ceremony to celebrate the achievements of Kingswood’s artistically talented GCSE and A-Level pupils in Drama and Music. Speakers from the professional arts world, are chosen to talk to the pupils and have included playwright Simon Warne, Jonathan Vaughan, Musical Director at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and actor Rupert Holliday Evans. Entertainment is provided by the pupils before a meal and the glitzy Oscar-style award ceremony take place.
Kingswood In Focus
Read about what's been happening in the Drama department recently in the brand new Kingswood In Focus.
Drama scholars from all year groups devise their own showcases, which take place during the year in the drama studio. These are often lunchtime performances to an invited audience of staff and pupils.
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award (DofE), a national programme with three progressive award levels (Bronze, Silver and Gold) is designed as an adventure and major challenge for pupils, helping them push personal boundaries, gain new skills and enhance their life experiences. At Kingswood, Year 10 pupils are encouraged to complete their Bronze Award, Year 11 undertake the Silver Award and, in the Sixth Form, those who wish to continue to Gold are given the opportunity to complete the full programme. Generally, around 90 Kingswood pupils participate in the Bronze Award each year, with many continuing to Silver and or Gold - the latter is an extremely prestigious award which is presented to pupils at St James’s Palace.
To download more information, visit http://www.dofe.org
Bronze, Silver and Gold expeditions for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award take place each year in some stunning locations around the UK including the Mendips, Snowdonia, Exmoor, the Brecon Beacons, the Black Mountains and the Lake District where the pupils plan their walking routes, camp, cook meals and learn survival and navigation skills. For each award, all pupils complete a training expedition prior to the qualifying venture. All expeditions include at least one night’s camping.
For the Gold Award, all pupils must attend an additional five-day residential project of their choice, which they make all the arrangements for. In the past, these have included yacht skipper qualifications, running children's camps and participating in the National Citizen Service programme.
The Skills section encourages pupils to discover what they are really good at, either by getting better at something they already do or by learning something for the first time. There is a wide range of skills that pupils can access from learning a musical instrument to taking up a craft activity or constructing a website. For a comprehensive list of the types of skills that can be learned please click on the following link: http://www.dofe.org/skills-section.
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award also encourages pupils to make a difference to other people’s lives and change things for the better – something that is very much part of the Kingswood ethos. Most of the pupils will undertake their voluntary activity in school, such as joining the Eco-Schools activity or assisting in running clubs for junior pupils. Others find alternative options available outside of school, such as helping in a charity shop, working with older people or raising money for a cause. Many pupils find this section one of the most rewarding elements of the DofE Award and are inspired to continue with this after leaving school. For more ideas about volunteering please click on the following link: http://www.dofe.org/volunteering-section.
Kingswood offers such an extensive sports programme within the School that all pupils have every opportunity to fulfil the criteria within the School for this section of the Award. We encourage our pupils to be fit and healthy and have fun improving skills or learning a new sport either as part of a team or individually. Pupils don’t have to be super fit or top team players; the physical element just requires a sustained level of energy in physical activities which could include dance, rock climbing, football or riding. Please click on the following link for more ideas: http://www.dofe.org/physical-section.
We encourage all of Kingswood’s pupils to try a musical instrument at some point during their educational years. The Music School houses a full suite of teaching and practice rooms, and we are fortunate to work with an excellent team of Visiting Music Teachers who deliver lessons throughout the day to pupils across all year groups. Kingswood’s musicians enjoy extensive performance opportunities as both soloists and in ensembles, including at Whole School Service, in our Lunchtime Recital series, and termly programme of concerts both in and out school. We encourage our musicians to take formal music examinations and host an ABRSM session each term, and the department is also able to offers theory and aural coaching sessions.
The co-curricular music provision at Kingswood is broad and inclusive, with ensembles to suit all ages and abilities. Westwood pupils (Years 7 and 8) benefit from their own choir and orchestra, which feed into the School’s main Kingswood Choir and Senior Orchestra. Our vocal groups are spearheaded by the Kingswood Choir, who perform at the most prestigious school events, as well as leading the Carol and Commemoration Services in Bath Abbey. Westwood Voices enjoy their own programme, singing a wide range of music, from pop classics to musical theatre numbers, as well as more traditional music for assemblies and services. The Senior Orchestra tackles broad repertoire from Classical works to film pieces, performing in the annual Christmas and Spring concerts. Alongside these ensembles, we also offer Kingswood Jazz Orchestra, Brass Ensemble, Clarinet Ensemble and Kingswood Strings. Each year, a range of smaller ensemble groups meet, often including Barbershop, A Cappella, String Quartets and pupil-run rock bands, who are able to make use of our excellent recording studio.
Read about Music at Kingswood in our annual magazine.
Kingswood students also take part in external music competitions, local and national events and recently have taken part in the international Bath Festival and the Mid Somerset Festival, and individuals have had major success at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Junior Department.
Concerts & Events
Major music concerts are held each term and all of the departments ensembles contribute to the Christmas and Spring Concerts. A major highlight of the year is the annual Green Park Station concert which showcases the Kingswood Jazz Orchestra and Singers and is a key feature of the Bath Festival Party In The City. A particular emphasis of the department is to support the local community with music; musicians make frequent visits to sing in Bath churches and perform concerts in a range of other venues in the local area. Recent performance highlights have included:
- A Night at the Musicals showcase in Kingswood Theatre
- Annual Carol and Commemoration Services in the magnificent Bath Abbey
- Kingswood Choir & Westwood Voices Christmas album recording at Holy Trinity Church, Bradford on Avon in aid of charity fundraising
- Kingswood Jazz Orchestra opening Party in the City as part of the Bath Festival at the Assembly Rooms
- Westwood Voices composing and performing songs for The Concert for the People of Bath, alongside Bath Philharmonia and the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines School of Music
- Piano & Percussion showcase
- Music Scholars’ trip to the Royal Opera House
- Department trips to see musicals and concerts, in Bath, Bristol and beyond
- London summer trip to visit the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, the Royal Opera House and to see Dear Evan Hansen in the West End
Alongside this, there are a whole host of musical opportunities throughout the year, including our termly recital series, workshops from visiting professional musicians, and weekly performances in Whole School Service.
The Music Department tours internationally on a biennial basis, with the most recent trip being a concert tour of the Netherlands. Kingswood’s choirs, orchestras and Jazz Orchestra spent a week touring Holland and the Netherlands, performing to crowds in Amsterdam and to appreciative audiences in Noordwijk and Utrecht.
Future plans include another concert tour to a European city destination, as well as a choral tour further afield.
Accommodation and Resources
The department is housed in Kingswood’s Music School which features a large, flexible and open classroom space, as well as a separate Music Technology suite equipped with 13 iMacs each running Logic Pro X and Sibelius. The Music School also features a dedicated studio for multitrack and live recordings, with an iMac, Focusrite Claret 8 PreX and an Icon QCon Pro. There is also a suite of practice rooms, a smaller project studio, staff room and offices for staff. The curriculum and activities are enhanced by a wealth of resources, including a full Samba kit, djembe set, classroom guitars and keyboards, xylophones and glockenspiels. The department also houses a Yamaha C1 in the Lower Classroom for recitals and examinations.
The musicians are also able to benefit from the 366-seat Kingswood Theatre which is used for weekly rehearsals and termly concerts, and is home to a Yamaha C7. Beyond this, Kingswood’s Chapel is a space in much use, and is home to a two-manual pipe organ, three manual Mackie digital organ, and a Kawai RX3 piano.
Pupils at Kingswood have the opportunity to take part in a range of weekly outdoor pursuits activities including orienteering, climbing, kayaking, and survival skills.
Alongside these weekly activities, the school also operates a variety of occasional, seasonal activities, such as scrambling, wild camping and surfing, as well as Year group hikes. In recent years, these have included cycling in the Scottish Highlands, scrambling in Snowdonia, hill walking in the Lake District, and mini expeditions on Dartmoor.
Every year, Kingswood enters a number of teams for the Ten Tors Challenge on Dartmoor and has a very good record of success in this nationally recognised event. Training takes place throughout the Spring term, culminating in a practice expedition on Dartmoor.
Read about Outdoor Pursuits at Kingswood in our latest school magazine.
All pupils at Kingswood from Year 7 through to Year 13 are fortunate to have Games as part of their weekly timetable.
The Games Programme in Years 7, 8 and 9 has an emphasis on team sports. We hope to fulfil the talents of all our pupils, whether that is representing the School in a B, C or D team, or going on to gain international recognition.
The main Games played in Years 7, 8 and 9 are as follows:
Boys: Rugby, Hockey, Cross Country, Tennis, Athletics, Cricket.
Girls: Hockey, Netball, Cross Country, Tennis, Athletics, Cricket, Rounders.
Over the course of the KS3 (Year 7-9), pupils will develop many of the skills which underpin the successful performance of our main sports. In addition, pupils will learn the importance of teamwork, good communication, winning and losing with equal respect for the opposition and, for some, the leadership skills required to bring the best out of each team member.
The choice of our main games is carefully considered and reviewed frequently. While tradition plays a part, the fact that the majority of similar schools in this area also play these sports allows us to generate the greatest amount of participation with the highest number of teams. The Games programme is heavily augmented by the Activity Programme which allows for participation in less mainstream sports. Fixtures are also played in some of these sports though with less frequency. These include sports such as basketball, badminton, soccer, table tennis, orienteering, climbing, kayaking, golf, equestrian events and dance.
From Year 10 onwards in the autumn, pupils are given an increasingly wider range of options. For boys in Year 10, some soccer is played by the group which are not involved in team rugby as well as some of the non-contact rugby sports such as tag-rugby. Girls will continue to play hockey in Year 10, but there is a wide range of options available in Years 11, 12 and 13. Girls can choose cross-country, swimming, yoga or aerobics, with cycling also an option. Boys have cross-country, cycling, swimming, soccer and multi-gym to choose from.
In the spring, the boys play hockey and the girls play netball. Most of our pupils up to and including Year 10 will participate in these sports and much of our success is based on having a considerable pool of players to choose from. In Year 11 and the Sixth Form the same options are available as in the Autumn term though there are several soccer fixtures for our two Senior sides as well as an extensive 7s programme for our rugby teams as part of the Activity Programme.
In the summer, from Year 10, boys and girls are given a choice of playing cricket, tennis, or taking part in athletics or swimming. In running a diverse mixture of sports, we give considerable opportunities for pupils to represent Kingswood in inter-school fixtures.
On any given weekend throughout the year it is not unusual for Kingswood to field upwards of 30 teams, which allows a high percentage of all pupils to participate. The emphasis is always to try and develop the individual’s potential as far as possible.
Read more about Sport at Kingswood in our annual magazine.
Kingswood has developed a tremendous reputation across all its main sports and is a competitive fixture for any school in any area.
Touring plays a major part in the Games programme, giving our pupils the chance to play internationally and with pupils from other year groups. Over the last 12 years, Kingswood has organised sports tours to North America, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Singapore, Australia and Fiji, South America, Italy and South Africa. Our aim is to give pupils the opportunity to tour at least once in their school careers.
To view the latest results and upcoming fixtures, as well as maps to Kingswood's sporting facilities and schools we travel to compete against, click here.
At Kingswood we offer a huge variety of trips and visits throughout the year. These range from subject-related day trips to UK-based residential trips and significant overseas ventures.
Recent day trips have included visits to the House of Lords for Politics, Welsh Castles and Brunel sites in Bristol for History, ‘The Big Pit’ and Swanage for Geography, the Roman Baths in Bath for Latin, Theatre Studies and English department trips to productions in London, Bristol and Bath, Art trips to the National Portrait Gallery and National Gallery, Economics department trips to the Royal Economic Society Annual Public Lecture and Land Rover, amongst many others.
Overseas trips include Language department trips to Seville and the Rhineland; Language Exchanges to Toulouse, Madrid and Munster; History and Politics department trips to Washington and Berlin; Geography trips to Iceland and Barcelona; a Latin trip to Rome; the annual Ski Trip to France; a Theatre Studies trip to New York.